The summer is heating up, and in Thedford, floating on the river in a stock tank is a great way to cool down.
Many Nebraskans are familiar with the idea of riding in a stock tank down a river. But it's more of a rare concept for folks from out of town. "From their perspective, this is more of an odd thing," Sandhill River Trips owner Cay Ewoldt said. "It's a lot of fun seeing a family go out there on the river, have a really good time, and get away from technology." And that's one goal of "Sandhill River Trips", which operates out of Ewoldt's Grocery store in Thedford. Cay Ewoldt teamed up with his dad on the business, which runs out of his dad's store. Allen Ewoldt has been a meat cutter for 50 years. "I'm a third generation meat cutter, we had a locker plant in Stapleton," store owner Allen Ewoldt said. "We have some little appliances, we have a full line grocery."
Having a summer tanking business originate at the grocery store works well for both Allen and Cay. "It was a win-win for both, because people can come in here, grab all of their snacks and drinks. They don't have to make an extra stop to be able to do any of that, and we can just take them out to the river and put them on at that point," Ewoldt said.
Ewoldt also believes the business is good for Thedford, which is a town with a population of 211. "When I started this thing, I was also thinking about the town itself, and not everybody stops in Thedford. This gives people a reason to stop in Thedford and see what the town has to offer too, because there's a lot of cool businesses around here. We've got a good hotel here in town, we have a gas station and a convenience store. The Thedford Art Gallery is right across the street from the grocery store, so we see people swing over by and check that out as well," Ewoldt said.
"Sandhill River Trips" is a stop on the Nebraska Tourism Passport Program this year. As you might imagine, when you are out on the river, there is so much to see. "I think it's wide open as far as the Sandhills go, just to see the beauty in that," Ewoldt said. "But we also see wildlife out there. We see mule deer, white tail deer, turkeys, and water birds that you might not see in other places across the state."
"Sandhill River Trips" offers tanking trips, along with kayaking trips, and tubing opportunities. Operators say they like to see people enjoying themselves on the water, and they enjoy hosting church groups. "We have several different church groups that come out, and we do special pricing for those groups just because that's where our heart is," Ewoldt said.
There's not much stress out on the river. Experiencing that, is important for people who seek out the trips. "They have that opportunity to get out and not worry about what's going on in their life. They get a chance to get out and relax and just be back in a part of nature, and not have to worry about the hustle and bustle of life out there is a big part of it," Ewoldt said. If you would like more information, go to sandhillrivertrips.com.